Science Daily April 6th (www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100406133712.htm ) is all about the mound of Tell Zeidan near Raqqa in Syria, close to where the Euphrates branches into two. The site has been abandoned for 6000 years, it is claimed, and as such preserves a society rich in detail as far as trade, copper metallurgy (it dates prior to the Bronze Age) and pottery production is concerned. It is a capsule in time from 6000-4000BC, a period within the Mid Holocene Climatic Optimum, and will provide archaeologists with immense new knowledge as far as the Ubaid culture is concerned. Ubaid pottery and culture is known from Arabia as well as what is now Iraq (somewhat to the south east of Tell Zeidan). This site precedes the rise of urban culture in Syria and Sumeria – but possesses the attributes that lead up to that state. One aspect of interest will be the political structures that might emerge – what relations it might have had with it’s neighbours, nearby and far afield. The trade network itself is considered to be quite remarkable as it is thought to precede donkey caravans and the wheel – yet objects were brought from far and wide, including ingots of copper. The excavations are expected to last for many years.